Home > Projects > Evidence-based Advocacy Intervention for Domestic Violence Survivors

The Community Advocacy Project is an evidence-based program designed by Cris Sullivan to help survivors of intimate partner abuse re-gain control of their lives. This project, which is strengths-based and survivor-centered, can be incorporated into many domestic violence programs fairly easily and inexpensively. It has been shown to decrease survivors’ risk of re-abuse, and to increase their quality of life, level of social support, and ability to obtain the community resources they need.

The intervention occurs in survivors’ homes and communities, and is short-term (10 weeks) but intensive (4-6 hours a week). Trained advocates help survivors work on their self-identified goals, and the program has been successful with those leaving the relationship as well as staying in the relationship.

All of the materials and information needed to implement the Community Advocacy Project can be found at http://cap.vaw.msu.edu.

CAP is included in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=262

It is also highlighted by The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare: www.cebc4cw.org, Crime Solutions: www.crimesolutions.gov, and the Domestic Violence Evidence Project: www.dvevidenceproject.org.

Evidence for the effectiveness of this model has been demonstrated through a longitudinal (two years) and experimental design, and the results have been published in peer-reviewed journals.  CAP has also been modified for use with different populations (e.g., at-risk adolescent girls), and is being implemented in a number of states and countries. Materials are in the process of being translated into Spanish, and the model is being tested in Monterrey, Mexico.

For more information, go to http://cap.vaw.msu.edu

Investigator: Cris Sullivan, Adrienne Adams
Start Date: 1986

Related Publications:

  • Allen, N.E., Bybee, D.I., & Sullivan, C.M. (2004). Battered women’s multitude of needs: Evidence supporting the need for comprehensive advocacy. Violence Against Women, 10(9), 1015-1035.
  • Allen, N.E., Larsen, S., Trotter, J.L., & Sullivan, C.M. (2013). Exploring the core components of an evidence-based community advocacy program for women with abusive partners. Journal of Community Psychology,41(1), 1-18.
  • Anderson, D.K., Saunders, D.G, Yoshihama, M., Bybee, D.I., & Sullivan, C.M. (2003).  Long-term trends in depression among women separated from abusive partners.  Violence Against Women, 9(7), 807-838.
  • Bybee, D.I., & Sullivan, C.M. (2005). Predicting re-victimization of battered women three years after exiting a shelter program.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 36(1/2), 85-96.
  • Bybee, D.I., & Sullivan, C.M.  (2002).  The process through which a strengths-based intervention resulted in positive change for battered women over time.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 30(1), 103-132.
  • Campbell, R., Sullivan, C.M., & Davidson, W.S. (1995).  A longitudinal analysis of depression in women with abusive partners.  Psychology of Women Quarterly, 19(2), 237-255.
  • Eby, K.K., Campbell, J.C., Sullivan, C.M., & Davidson, W.S. (1995).  Health effects of experiences of sexual violence for women with abusive partners.  Health Care for Women International.  16, 563-576.
  • Sullivan, C.M.  (1991).  Battered women as active helpseekers.  Violence Update, 1(12), 1,8,10-11.
  • Sullivan, C.M.  (2000).  A model for effectively advocating for women with abusive partners. In
  • J.P. Vincent & E.N. Jouriles (Eds.), Domestic violence:  Guidelines for research-informed practice (pp. 126-143).  London:  Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Sullivan, C.M.  (1991).  The provision of advocacy services to women leaving abusive partners:  An exploratory study.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 6(1), 41-54.
  • Sullivan, C.M.  (2003).  Using the ESID model to reduce intimate male violence against women.      American Journal of Community Psychology, 32(3), 295-303.
  • Sullivan, C.M., Basta, J., Rumptz, M., & Davidson, W.S.  (1992).  After the crisis: A needs assessment of women leaving a domestic violence shelter.  Violence and Victims, 7(3), 271-280.
  • Sullivan, C.M., & Bybee, D.I.  (1999).  Reducing violence using community-based advocacy for women with abusive partners.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(1), 43-53.
  • Sullivan, C.M., Campbell, R., Angelique, H., Eby, K.K., & Davidson, W.S. (1994).  An advocacy intervention program for women with abusive partners: Six month followup.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 22(1), 101-122.
  • Sullivan, C.M. & Davidson, W.S.  (1991).  The provision of advocacy services to women leaving abusive partners: The examination of short-term effects.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 19(6), 953-960.
  • Sullivan, C.M. & Rumptz, M.H.  (1995).  The adjustment and needs over time of African-American women who have used a domestic violence shelter.  Violence and Victims, 9(3), 275-286.
  • Sullivan, C.M., Tan, C., Basta, J., Rumptz, M., & Davidson, W.S.  (1992).  An advocacy intervention program for women with abusive partners: Initial evaluation.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 20(3), 309-322.
  • Sutherland, C., Bybee, D., & Sullivan, C.M.  (1998).  The long-term effects of battering on women’s health.  Women’s Health: Research on Gender, Behavior, and Policy, 4(1), 41-70.
  • Tan, C., Basta, J., Sullivan, C.M., & Davidson, W.S. (1995).  The role of social support in the lives of women exiting domestic violence shelters: An experimental study.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10(4), 437-451.
  • Theran, S., Sutherland, C.A., Sullivan, C.M., & Bogat, G.A. (2006). Abusive partners versus ex-partners: Understanding the effects of relationship to the abuser on women’s well-being and social support.  Violence Against Women, 12(10), 950-969.

About RCGV

MSU’s Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence faculty and staff are dedicated to research and outreach initiatives related to ending and preventing gender-based violence and improving the community response to survivors. RCGV faculty are committed to mentoring the next generation of gender-based violence researchers by providing substantial educational and employment opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant and widespread social problem internationally, devastating adults, children, families and societies across the globe. It includes any form of harm that is both a consequence and cause of gender power inequities. It can be physical, psychological, sexual, economic, or sociocultural, and includes but is not limited to sexual abuse, rape, intimate partner abuse, incest, sexual harassment, stalking, femicide, trafficking, gendered hate crimes and dowry abuse. Gender-based violence intersects with race-based, class-based or religiously oppressive forms of abuse, and cross-cuts many other social problems (e.g., poverty, substance abuse, mental and physical health, crime).

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